There is a universal, timeless pattern that Joseph Campbell brought to public awareness when he identified the archetypes and motifs of the world’s myths that tell the story of the journey of the hero. He called this pattern the monomyth, as it represented the one myth common to all cultures. The journey consists of the three primary archetypes of departure, initiation, and return.

On a deeper level, this journey expresses a process of inner transformation that takes us through a series of challenges in the world to reach our fullest potential. As Campbell’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces became more and more popular, a gender-based split developed between how men understood it and how women understood it.

Many men took it literally as a “hero’s” journey that became a great adventure story with the emphasis on overwhelming odds to beat. Many women saw it as missing their experience of what their life is really about, and so distinct versions of a “heroine’s” journey appeared.

In the process, there was a separation of potentialities and archetypes into masculine and feminine categories. This view keeps apart what we all have access to as human beings, having more in common with each other than we acknowledge.

We have much to learn from each other about how all the archetypes are human potentialities, not either feminine or masculine. Keeping them separate runs the risk of letting the whole get lost in its parts.

In A New Story of Wholeness, with a full exploration of the universal and timeless pattern it decodes, the hero’s journey and the heroine’s journey are re-united into a single journey that illustrates how this pattern, in its essence, is designed to return us all to our inherent wholeness, with a unitive consciousness. This is what, in turn, makes our lives heroic as we give back to the world what we have learned and gained from the process itself.

Remembering our wholeness fulfills who we are as human beings, and what we all share as members of one human family. It eliminates the choice of either/or, either masculine or feminine, and upholds the integrity of both/and, emphasizing all qualities and characteristics we have in common as human beings.

We know we are well into the process of remembering our wholeness when the eternal breaks through from the temporal realm, when light merges with dark, and when polarities are consciously acknowledged and confronted in our everyday lives.

When these opposites are experienced, and their lessons learned in the classroom of the world, we remember what we came here for, and we evolve as we are intended to. We become the woodcarver who sees the tree spirits wanting to be fashioned even before the tree is carved, in what is already there yet invisible.

All the fleeting chaos, confusion, conflict, and suffering resulting from the interaction of opposites we experience here provide us with the jarring contrast between what will pass and what will last.

As we communicate more with the inner realm, we become fully aware of when the eternal bursts forth from the unconscious, giving us a timeless understanding that countless others have experienced before us.

The pattern of the journey to wholeness provides a model that gets to the core of what we are made for. It contains all we need to fulfill our innate potential. Every single human being on the planet can realize the fruits of living this pattern and can become conscious of its meaning. In doing so, we benefit others as well by passing on its understanding and transforming the world in the process.

The universal pattern guiding our living into wholeness is a roadmap for achieving the greatest expansion of consciousness that is humanly possible. It is first and foremost an all-human inner journey that unites us all as conscious storytellers sharing our experience of returning to our innate wholeness.

Living into the “new” story of our wholeness—the process of remembering who and what we are—removes the perceived boundaries between masculine and feminine, to show they are vestiges of our long history of living with a consciousness of duality.

Living into our wholeness results in a deeply lived life, having wrestled with our demons, danced with our angels, made plans with our inner guide, and connected with our soul. Only the fullest evolution of our own consciousness fulfills our greatest desire and potential.

In this process, we discover that, at our essence, we are more like others than not. This prepares us for the most satisfying thing we can experience—the sense of union with creation that comes through service to, and deep interpersonal relationships with, others.

Adapted from A New Story of Wholeness: An Experiential Guide for Connecting the Human Family by Robert Atkinson (2022)


Robert Atkinson, Ph.D., an award winning author and member of the Evolutionary Leaders Circle, is an internationally recognized authority on life story interviewing, personal mythmaking, and soul-making. He is the author of A New Story of Wholeness: An Experiential Guide for Connecting the Human Family, co-editor of Our Moment of Choice: Evolutionary Visions and Hope for the Future (2020), and the author of The Story of Our Time: From Duality to Interconnectedness to Oneness is a 2017 Nautilus Book Award winner.